Where is Ebola now? 2016 update


Colorful Ebola under Transmission Electron Microscope (Image: CDC)

The Deadlier Ebola outbreak and it was one of the major pandemic known. This small neither living nor dead nanoscale object shook the world back in 2013-2014 and also after. It was a mighty fight among the researchers around the globe to bring down this Ebola virus (EBOV) outbreak. Thousands of research took place and organizations from different countries came hand to hand with World Health Organization (WHO) for immediate action. It wasn’t been easy then since multiple research does brought some light to cure but they need to go through some controversies. I published a science communication review back in 2015 under International Journal of Microbiology and Allied Sciences along with Mr. Sagar Aryal (Science Blogger at Microbiology World, Nepal) and Dr. Aftab Ahmad (President at National Academy of Young Scientists, Pakistan) highlighting the controversies and solutions 2015. Here I am highlighting the current scenario upto 8th of July 2016.


Image: WHO

Ebola hit 2013-2015 (based on the paper Ebola outbreak controversies and solutions 2015)

Let’s rewind back in December 2013, WHO confirms on 30th with 27,049 cases at three major hit centres – Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Then soon from these three major states it starting to spread to other parts of Africa, Europe and even found cases in United States. EBOV spreads from fruit bats especially some species found in Africa. It was believed that the spread was due to consumption of bat as food. The fatality rate was too high (41.02%) and was rising exponentially. All turned to WHO for answers and WHO itself was muddled. Researchers and Companies all around the globe united to accept this challenge and successfully came with multiple possible vaccines that does work in animal models. But the controversies struck then when it comes to human trial. WHO was under huge burden of financial crisis as the budget was much higher than they require.

Check the documentary of the 2013-2015 outbreak

It was 24th of October with 10,141 confirmed cases and 4,922 deaths. Researchers from Yale University had predicted that if there are no better measures taken then it will take a record rise by mid of November 2014. Unfortunately the prediction followed and still researchers were arguing with their researched vaccines proposed still tied in the knots of controversy. With some vaccines like ZMapp (the triple antibody), GSK proposed vaccines, etc the steep rise was getting submerged now. The Nigerian government has quarantined the whole country to prevent any further spread. But EBOV does not obey such rule and it was spreading. Many scientists who were working even got affected with EBOV.

WHO still was fighting strong with much collaboration to eradicate EBOV completely. The review was written up to WHO’s report of 10th June 2015. Surprisingly the record has reached more with 27,237 confirmed cases and 11,173 deaths. It was not restricted to African countries and it had become glober concern of fear of EBOV with positive cases found in US, UK, Senegal, Spain and Italy.

Ebola 2016 update

After all these steep rise and fear of EBOV, where is it now? Are we free from the risk of EBOV completely? In the 9th of June WHO’s last update till now declares the end of EBOV outbreak in Liberia. The announcement was done after surveillance for 42days post to last confirmed Ebola patient who was tested negative for second time. Still Liberia is now under 90days trial of strict surveillance. (Read the WHO’s last press of 9th June here)

According to the final update till now there are 28,616 cases and 11,310 deaths (check the data here) as on 10th of June 2016. So how does this total expedition of hunting EBOV coming to an end? What are the vaccines those come out of the controversial trial and made success?

It is important to note that there is not yet any final vaccine for EBOV. Ebola keeps on mutating itself and change its strain. Most of the vaccines that might work on some, may not work for others. A British company GlaxoSmithKline developed a vaccine ChAd3-ZEBOV that had made to final trial during Ebola Outbreak and another from Merck, a company from US. Governments from each national took step to prevent further spread of Ebola. A combined effect may have provided a huge success to stop this outbreak. The recovery was known for some people used the trial vaccines to save their life but also some have not recovered. WHO and World Economic Forum now are having more conversation with these companies to provide possible vaccines into human trial in future to confirm the application.

Suggested readings:

  1. The Ebola outbreak is over, but the hunt for a vaccine continues. Michell Eloy, February 25, 2016. Marketplace dot org
  2. Looking, hopefully, towards an Ebola-free future. April 2016, WHO.
  3. Ebola virus disease outbreak. (total news by WHO)

About Saumyadip

Science Communicator and Biologist. Keep interests in host-pathogen interaction research. Specifically bacterial infection mechanism, host infection evasion and immune susceptibility of host. PhD student at Academia Sinica Molecular and Cell Biology, Taiwan
This entry was posted in Medical Microbiology, Virology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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